US LGBTQ Rights Timeline 1903-2016
ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™
New York police conducted the first US recorded raid on the Ariston Hotel Baths.
Individuals in the US are dismissed from government employment for their sexual orientation, commencing the Lavender scare.
Apr – Homosexuality is listed as a sociopathic personality disturbance in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual.
May 27 President Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450 ordering heads of federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management with investigating federal employees for “Any criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, habitual use of intoxicants to excess, drug addiction, or sexual perversion.” to determine whether they posed a threat to national security.
The Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian organization in the US, is founded.
The US Supreme Court rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of a gay and lesbian magazine, marking the first time the US Supreme Court had ruled on a case involving homosexuality.
Illinois becomes first U.S. state to remove sodomy law from its criminal code (effective 1962).
Jul 4 Conservatively dressed gays and lesbians demonstrate outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This was the first in a series of Annual Reminders that took place through 1969.
The Mattachine Society stages a “Sip-In” at Julius Bar in New York City challenging a New York State Liquor Authority prohibiting serving alcohol to gays, The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred by a transgender women and Vanguard members in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.
The Black Cat Tavern in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles is raided on New Year’s day by 12 plainclothes police officers who beat and arrested employees and patrons sparks civil rights activism..
Jun 28 The Stonewall riots a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community after a police raid that took place in the early morning hours at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City; they are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the US, The “Los Angeles Advocate,” founded and is renamed “The Advocate.” It is considered the oldest continuing LGBT publication and began as a newsletter published by the activist group Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE).
Jun 28 The first Gay Liberation Day March is held in New York City, The first LGBT Pride Parade is held in New York, The first “Gay-in” held in San Francisco.
Colorado and Oregon repeal sodomy laws, Idaho repeals the sodomy law — Then re-instates the repealed sodomy law because of outrage among Mormons and Catholics.
Hawaii legalizes homosexuality, East Lansing, Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan and San Francisco, California become the first cities in US to pass a homosexual rights ordinance, Jim Foster, San Francisco and Madeline Davis, Buffalo, New York, first gay and lesbian delegates to the Democratic Convention, Miami, McGovern; give the first speeches advocating a gay rights plank in the Democratic Party Platform.
The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II), based largely on the research and advocacy of Evelyn Hooker, Lambda Legal becomes the first legal organization established to fight for the equal rights of gays and lesbians. Lambda also becomes their own first client after being denied non-profit status, the New York Supreme Court eventually rules that Lambda Legal can exist as a non-profit.
Ohio repeals sodomy laws. Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly LGBT American elected to any public office when she wins a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council, Elaine Noble is the first openly gay candidate elected to a state office when she is elected to the Massachusetts State legislature.
Homosexuality is legalized in California due to the Consenting Adult Sex Bill, authored by and successfully lobbied for in the state legislature by State Assemblyman from San Francisco Willie Brown, Minneapolis becomes the first city in the US to pass trans-inclusive civil rights protection legislation, Technical Sergeant Leonard P. Matlovich reveals his sexual orientation to his commanding officer and is forcibly discharged from the Air Force six months later; Matlovich is a Vietnam War veteran and was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star
Professional tennis player Renee Richards undergoes gender reassignment surgery
Jan 8, 1978 In 1977 Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors becoming the first openly gay man in the U.S. elected to public office, Dade County, Florida enacts a Human Rights Ordinance; it is repealed the same year after a militant anti-homosexual-rights campaign led by Anita Bryant, Police raid a house outside of Boston outraging the gay community.
San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White, The first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is held, with 2000 people attending and 53 subsequently arrested and some seriously beaten by police. The rainbow flag is first used as a symbol of homosexual pride.
Oct 14 The first national homosexual rights march on Washington, DC is held, he White Night riots occur, Harry Hay issues the first call for a Radical Faerie gathering in Arizona, Stephen Lachs becomes the first openly gay judge appointed in the United States (Los Angeles County Superior Court)
Mary C. Morgan became the first openly gay or lesbian judge when she was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the San Francisco Municipal Court
The US Democratic Party becomes the first major political party in the U.S. to endorse a homosexual rights platform plank. David McReynolds becomes the first openly LGBT individual to run for President of the United States, appearing on the Socialist Party U S A ticket.
The CDC used the term AIDS for the first time in September 1982, when it reported that an average of one to two cases of AIDS were being diagnosed in America every day, March 2 Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Massachusetts Representative Gerry Studds reveals he is gay on the floor of the House, becoming the first openly gay member of Congress, Lambda Legal wins People v. West 12 Tenants Corp., the first HIV/AIDS discrimination lawsuit.
Berkeley, California becomes the first city in the U.S. to adopt a program of domestic partnership health benefits for city employees.
Bowers v. Hardwick case, U.S. Supreme Court upholds Georgia law ruling that the constitutional right to privacy does not extend to homosexual relations, but it does not state whether the law can be enforced against heterosexuals.
Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP) founded in the US in response to the US government’s slow response in dealing with the AIDS crisis. ACT UP stages its first major demonstration, seventeen protesters are arrested, Boulder, CO citizens pass the first referendum to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. In New York City a group of Bisexual LGBT rights activist including Brenda Howard found the New York Area Bisexual Network (NYABN).
LGBT Organizations founded: BiNet Dale McCormick became the first open lesbian elected to a state Senate (she was elected to the Maine Senate).
The red ribbon is first used as a symbol of the campaign against HIV/AIDS.
Althea Garrison was elected as the first transgender state legislator in America, and served one term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, The Lesbian Avengers was founded in New York City,
Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Anti-discrimination legislation: US state of Minnesota (gender identity), Ban on gays serving openly in the military established (see Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, repealed 2010).
The Triangle Ball was held. Roberta Achtenberg became the first openly gay or lesbian person to be nominated by a president, by President Bill Clinton, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate when she was appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
Mary C. Morgan became the first openly gay or lesbian judge when she was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the San Francisco Municipal Court
Nov The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act goes into effect as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
Romer vs Evans -US Supreme Court strikes down state constiutional amendment in Colorado preventing recongnition of LGB as a protected glass, Dec 3 Hawaii’s Judge Chang rules that the state does not have a legal right to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry, making Hawaii the first state to recognize that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to the same privileges as heterosexual married couples, US Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act for federal purposes as the marriage union between one man and one woman.
Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that federal laws banning on-the-job sexual harassment also apply when both parties are the same sex, Oct 6-7 Matthew Shepard is tied to a fence, beaten and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming, Oct 9 Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney from Laramie, Wyoming, make their first court appearance after being arrested for the attempted murder of Matthew Shepard. Eventually, they each receive two life sentences for killing Shepard.
Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: California legalizes same-sex marriage (without adoption, without step adoption until 2001, same-sex marriage in Jun 2008-Nov 2008), The Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots that sparked the modern gay-rights movement, is deemed an National Historic Landmark
Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Passes and Comes into effect: US State of Vermont.
Anti-discrimination legislation: US states of Rhode Island (private sector, gender identity) and Maryland (private sector, sexual orientation). Repeal of Sodomy laws: US state of Arizona,
Anti-discrimination legislation: US states of Alaska (public sector, sexual orientation) and New York (private sector, sexual orientation).
Anti-discrimination legislation: US states of Arizona (public sector, sexual orientation), Kentucky (public sector, sexual orientation and gender identity), Michigan (executive branch of the state government, sexual orientation), New Mexico (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity), Pennsylvania (public sector, gender identity), Jun 26 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy law, Nov 18 Same-sex marriage was first recognized by a US jurisdiction pursuant to the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health
Limited Partnership laws: Passed and Comes into effect: New Jersey, Limited Partnership laws: Banning of Same-sex marriage: US states of Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Utah. Banning of Same-sex marriage and civil unions: US states of Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota.
May 17 Massachusetts is the first state to legalizes same-sex marriage, Anti-discrimination legislation: US States of Indiana (public sector, gender identity), Louisiana (public sector, sexual orientation) and Maine, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in the US, when San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom allowed city hall to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Passes and Comes into effect: US state of Connecticut, Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: US state of California, Banning of Same-sex marriage and civil unions: US states of Kansas and Texas, Anti-discrimination legislation: US States of Illinois (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity) and Maine (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity).
Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: US state of New Jersey, Banning of Same-sex marriage and civil unions: US States of Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia,Wisconsin, Anti-discrimination legislation: US States and Districts of Illinois (sexual orientation), New Jersey (private sector, gender identity),Washington (sexual orientation and gender identity) and Washington, D.C. (private sector, gender identity, Voiding of Anti-discrimination legislation: Kentucky. Springfield, Missouri repeals gay soliciting laws, the US Senate fails to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Passed: US state of New Hampshire, Limited Partnership laws: Passed and Comes into effect: US state of Washington, Limited Partnership laws: Comes into effect: US state of Oregon.
Anti-discrimination legislation: US states of Colorado (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity), Iowa (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity), Kansas (public sector, sexual orientation and gender identity), Michigan (public sector, gender identity), Ohio (public sector, sexual orientation and gender identity),Oregon (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity) and Vermont (private sector, gender identity).
Same-sex marriage laws: Passed and Comes into effect: US states of California (May–Nov 2008) and Connecticut. Banning of Same-sex marriage: US states of Arizona and California, Banning of Same-sex marriage and civil unions: US state of Florida. Banning of Same-sex marriage: US states of Arizona and California, Banning of Same-sex marriage and civil unions: US state of Florida. The first ever U.S. Congressional hearing on discrimination against transgender people in the workplace was held, by the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
Same-sex marriage laws: Passed and Comes into effect: US states of Iowa and Vermont. Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Passed and comes into effect: US states of Nevada and Washington (expansion of previous rights). Limited Partnership laws: Passed and Comes into effect: US states of Colorado and Wisconsin, Abroad Union recognition: US district of Washington, D.C. Banning of Same-sex marriage: Maine, US state of Delaware prohibites discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, May 26 California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in Nov 2008, with a 6–1 vote, Jun 17 President Obama ordered Federal Government extend key benefits to same-sex partners of Federal employees, Jun 29 Hosted the first ever White House LGBT Pride reception, Aug 12 Awarded the hight civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom to Billie Jean King and Harvey Milk, Oct 21 Created the National Resource Center for LGBT Elders, Oct 28 President Obama signs Matthew Shepard Act Anti-discrimination legislation, Dec 12 Washington state voters approve keeping same-sex relationship rights as Domestic Partnerships by 51 percent
Same-sex marriage laws: Comes into effect: US state of New Hampshire (step adoption only) and Washington, D.C. U.S. state of California, US District Judge Vaughn Walker strikes down California’s Proposition 8 as violative of the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, End to ban of same-sex couple adoption: US states of Arkansas and Florida, Victoria Kolakowski became the first openly transgender judge in America, Phyllis Frye became Texas’s first openly transgender judge, Jan 1 New Hampshire legalizes same-sex marriage, Jan 1 Banned discrimination in Federal workplaces based on gender identity, Jan 4 Lifted the ban that prohibited people with HIV/AIDS from enter the US, Apr 15 Hospital Visitation Presidential Memorandum ensured hospital visitation and medical decision making right or gay and lesbian parents, Jun 9 Allowed transgender Americans to receive gender passports without surgery, Jun 17 Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination memorandum expanding federal benefits for the same-sex partners of Foreign Service and executive branch government employees, Jun 22 Clarified the Family Leave Act to ensure family leave for LGBT employees, Dec 21 President Obama lead a United Nations measure to restore “sexual orientation” to the definition of human rights, Dec 22 Signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
Same-sex marriage laws: Passed and comes into effect: New York, Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Passed and comes into effect: US State of Illinois (with joint adoption rights), Rhode Island., Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Passed: US State of Delaware (comes into effect Jan 2012) and Hawaii (comes into effect Jan 2012).Feb 23 President Obama decided that his administration no longer would enforce the federal Defense of Marriage Act, May 27 Issued guidance to foster safer working environments fro transgender Federal employees, Aug 19 Supported lesbian widow Edith Windsor in her suite against DOMA, Aug 18 Clarified the mean of “family” to include LGBT relationships, helping to protect bi-national families threatened by deportation, Sep 15 Ended the Social Security Administration’s gender “no match” letters, Sep 20 President Obama ends to ban on gay people in the military: (see Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), Sep 30 Permitted military chaplains to officiate same-sex marriages where legal, Oct 13 Alison Nathan becomes second openly gay appointee to be confirmed to the federal bench in Southern District of New York,Dec 6 President Obama authorizes the US State Department to provide assistance to LGBT defenders and advocates through the US Embassies abroad, Dec 11 Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons
Same-sex marriage laws: Passed and comes into effect: U.S. states of Maine and Washington, Same-sex marriage laws: Passed: U.S. state of Maryland. Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws: Comes into effect: U.S. States of Delaware and Hawaii, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) became the first openly bisexual person elected to the US Congress. Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote, May 9 President Obama became the first U.S. president to publicly announced support for same-sex marriage, Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the US Senate, as a Senator for Wisconsin, Jun 18 The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a regulation to prohibit LGBT discrimination in federally assisted housing programs; the new regulations ensure that the Department’s core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, Sept 4 The Democratic Party becomes the first major U.S. political party in history to publicly support same-sex marriage on a national platform at the Democratic National Convention.
Jan 21 President Obama became the first president to call for full equality for gay Americans, Feb 22 President Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA, Jun 26 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US will give visa applications of gay and lesbian spouses in the same manner as heterosexual couples, Feb 27 Obama administration filed briefs urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex couples, Jun 28 US Office of Personnel Management extends federal rights and benefits to married gay and lesbian federal employees and their families, Jun 28 California same-sex marriage is legal again, Jul 1 Minnesota and Delaware legalizes same-sex marriage, Jun 12 The Social Security Administration announced that it would begin accepting benefit claims related to same-sex marriage, Jun 26 Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage in United States v. Windsor U.S. district courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Idaho, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and state courts in Arkansas and Texas, have found state constitutional amendments or statutes banning same-sex marriage to violate the Constitution of the United States, Aug 2 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Announcemens on Visa Changes for Same-Sex Couples, Aug 14 – DOD Announces Same-Sex Spouse Benefits, Aug 29 Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes., Aug 29 Social Security Announces the Processing of claims for same-sex couples, Sept 23 First WH Bi Conference, Sep 24 President Obama’s nominee Todd Hughes, become the nation’s first openly gay federal appeals judge, Oct 21 New Jersey legalizes same-sex marriage., Oct 31 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the chief of the National Guard Bureau to meet with the adjutants general of nine [of the remaining] states [not in compliance] to resolve the issue of those states denying ID cards to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities., Oct 13 Hawaii legalizes same-sex marriage., Nov 13 Hawaii governor signs same-sex marriage into law., Nov 20 Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signs SB10, authorizing same-sex marriage into law, The U.S. Senate confirmed Nitza Quiñones Alejandro to a federal judgeship, making her the first openly gay Latina to hold such a post, Todd Hughes became the first openly gay U.S. circuit judge
Jan 10 Attorney General Eric Holder recognizes the marriages of more than 1,000 same-sex couples in Utah that took place before the Supreme Court put those unions on hold. Feb 10 Attorney General Eric Holder announced changes within the Justice Department to benefit same-sex married couples such as the option to not testify against their partners, ablilty to file for bankruptcy jointly, spousal visits and contacts for Federal prison inmates, benefits granted to the survivors of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty., Feb USAID appointed Senior LGBT Coordinator Todd Larson to ensure that the promotion and protection of LGBT rights is fully integrated into all aspects of USAID’s vital work overseas. ,Mar 14 President Obama’s Judge Staci Michelle Yandle, an openly gay African-American woman, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Jun 19 President Obama’s nominee Judith Ellen Levy was confirmed by the Senate as the first openly lesbian federal judge in Michigan, Jun 19 President Obama’s nominee Darrin P. Gayles becomes the first black, openly gay male judge was appointed to District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Jun 20 President Obama announces a rule that makes legally married same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in all 50 states. Jun 24 White House Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Human Rights Forum.Jul 21 – President Obama signs an executive order Monday outlawing anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors and federal employees, Oct 6 Supreme Court declines to intervene in gay marriage cases.Oct 25 Attorney General Holder Announces Federal Government to Recognize Same-Sex Married Couples in Six Additional States
Feb 18 Kate Brown became the first openly bisexual governor in the U.S.Feb 23 Secretary of State John Kerry announces Randy Berry as the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.Mar 3 Dept of Justice files briefs on health care guidelines, known as “freeze frame” policies, allowing inmates to continue any treatment they were receiving before their arrest but prohibit them from expanding or starting new treatments, Apr 8 A gender-neutral restroom is added to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House. Jun 9 Department of Defense Extends Non-Discrimination Protections for LGB Troops, Jun 23 The Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots that sparked the modern gay-rights movement, is deemed an New York state landmark, Jun 26 US Supreme Court rules that marriage equality must be in all 50 states, Jul 9 Attorney General Lynch Announces Federal Marriage Benefits Available to Same-Sex Couples Nationwide, Jul 14 Defense Secretary Carter delivered a statement welcoming transgender persons to serve openly, Aug 18 White House hires openly trans staffer, ep 2 Federal judge jails defiant county clerk Kim Davis for contempt of court because of her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples
Jan 8 Santa Clara County (California) becomes first nationwide to establish office of LGBTQ affairs, Mar 3 SCOTUS Unanimously Reverses Alabama Court’s Refusal to Recognize Same-Sex Adoption, Mar 31 Federal judge struck down Mississippi’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples making the practice legal nationwide, US Justice Dept sues NC Governor Pat McCrory, NC Department of Public Safety, and the University of NC system, alleging that House Bill 2 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Act, Apr 12 President Obama’s administration and US Depart of Education issued guidance for school districts to treat transgender students with dignity in public and federally funded schools, Jun 12 A gunman shot and killed at least 50 and wounded 53 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, the incident was the deadliest mass shooting in United States, Jun 24 President Obama Designates Stonewall National Monument, 6/30 US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Lifts Ban on Transgender Service Members , 10/18 Feds win round in legal fight over Obama transgender bathroom policy, 10/26/16 National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice at American University on Global LGBTQ Rights
US Secretary of State John Kerry formally apologized to gay, lesbian and other employees of the State Department who faced past discrimination because of their sexual orientation in the past
Sources: Wikipedia.com, Human Rights Campaign and USA.gov